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Innovation, digitalisation and sustainability: working with Etteplan to build the engineering business of the future
- June 09, 2022
How do you spark positive change in the world of engineering? And what’s the best way to support your customers and the planet at the same time? Etteplan’s CIO, Marko Mälkiä, sheds some light on Etteplan’s journey towards becoming a leaner – and greener – customer-centric organisation.
“Engineering with a difference” is the brand promise at the heart of Etteplan’s operations.
This vision has guided the company’s evolution and deeply informed its business model: since 1983, Etteplan has been reinventing software, engineering, and technical documentation solutions to make industrial digitalisation and sustainable manufacturing a reality for businesses all over the world.
And as organisations accelerated their digital transformation, the Finnish company grew internationally and evolved from delivering services to creating long-term value for its customers and inspiring positive change.
Last week, Marko Mälkiä, Chief Information Officer at Etteplan, joined Jason Skidmore, Chief Commercial Officer at 3stepIT for a chat. They discussed purpose, growth and the importance of bringing sustainability to the core of businesses operations.
Jason: The engineering industry has changed dramatically over the past ten years – how have you managed to remain close to your customers and differentiate yourself over the years?
Marko: The industry has changed, and so have our customers’ needs.
We make a point of always listening to our customers and spending time understanding their business model before we offer them a solution. This means we can often anticipate their needs and really help them future proof their business, not just solve an issue.
For instance, over the past few years many of them have wanted to renew their operations to become more efficient and sustainable, and we have focused on producing results that matter to them in these areas.
Jason: You are working with your customers on software and embedded solutions, helping them make their machinery smarter. Do you think businesses’ attitudes are changing, and organisations are moving from focusing on efficiency to pivoting to optimising their processes to reduce waste, for instance?
Marko: Efficiency is no longer enough.
The optimisation of processes – which can be achieved by making the most of the available data and resources – is now the end goal for many of our customers. It helps them be more productive and more sustainable, which is a core strategic goal for almost every business today.
The work we do in Internet of Things (IoT) goes in that direction: we help them acquire, process and meaningfully integrate the data from their business within their operations. As a result, they are more efficient and able to deliver a better customer experience while minimising their environmental impact.
Jason: Your purpose is “inspiring positive change”. Has the pandemic made that easier or more complex, given that organisations rushed to automate their processes and digitalise their operations?
Marko: The pandemic made many businesses realise the need to combine profitability with purpose.
They did rush to automate rapidly, but they also understood the need to do it responsibly from a sustainability and corporate responsibility perspective. And we support them in these areas.
For instance, we help many of our customers virtually test highly automated production lines and control systems to avoid delays. This can save the cost of corrective design configurations and, crucially, ensure these systems are safe for the people working on the factory floor.
We also help our customers create eco-efficient solutions from a manufacturability, usability and recyclability point of view. And by providing proactive maintenance guidelines, we contribute to the energy efficiency of our customers' equipment, machinery and production facilities.
Jason: What role does 3stepIT play in your vision?
Marko: Our network of partners and suppliers is crucial to offering the best possible services to our customers.
We chose 3stepIT to manage our technology because, very early on, we realised future-ready organisations need access to digital tools, not ownership of devices, to grow and deliver services to customers. And that it is the responsibility of organisations like ours to lead the way in responsible technology management if we want to drive real change.
We also wanted to make sure we could control our assets – financially and operationally – and manage them and the data stored on them responsibly throughout their lifecycle.
Before starting to work with 3stepIT, we thought we would have to deal with different companies to achieve all these outcomes and that we would have to change our procurement habits. Therefore, we were very impressed when we found out that 3stepIT could do it all, with minimal changes required from our side.
Thanks to 3stepIT’s services, we can access sustainable technology lifecycle and asset management services – which we can fully integrate with our legacy systems. And we can also step into the future, making our technology consumption circular and dramatically reducing our e-waste footprint.
Inspiring positive change is at the heart of our business, and we are definitely doing that by working with 3stepIT.